Much has been said about the “unfairness” of the way Mattingly has been treated. He got the job with zero managerial experience and has a loaded roster. Yes, the players play for him and seem to like him, but they’re not going to refuse to go out on the field if a change is made. There won’t be protests and demands of justice for Donnie Baseball.
What appears to be happening is a conciliatory, “well we can’t fire him” response from the Dodgers. In truth, if they don’t think he’s the right manager for the team, that’s exactly what they should do. They don’t need to give a reason, but considering Mattingly essentially placing his own head on the chopping block, grabbing the axe in the executioner’s hand and placing the cold, sharp steel against his own neck, the Dodgers are well within their rights to chop it off if that’s the ultimatum he’s giving them.
Mattingly might think he’d get another managerial chance. I doubt he would. He'd more likely be trapped in the limbo of Willie Randolph and Bob Brenly as managers who had good records but didn't impress others enough to warrant another managerial shot. If he thought this strategy was going to force the Dodgers to bow to his wishes, the firings of Taylor and Hillman – intentionally or not – showed him exactly what they thought of his demands. He was dealing from a position of zero strength. The Dodgers knew it and acted accordingly, doing what they wanted safe in the knowledge that Mattingly wouldn't quit and not being all that bothered if he did.